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Each year Halloween gets bigger and bigger and with trick or treating put on hold last year, this October is a great opportunity to connect with your local community.

As Halloween falls on a Sunday, there’s a fair chance many shops will be closed, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out, just move the celebrations to the Friday and Saturday and make a weekend of it. Even shops that open on a Sunday may want to do a weekend-long promotion, especially as it’s a final chance to have a bit of fun before the schools go back for many.

So this year, rather than reach for the food colouring to turn your batter a ghastly shade of red or black (sorry, call us traditionalists but we like our batter golden), we’ve put some really quick and simple ideas together that take minimal effort and hardly any budget to help get you into the Halloween spirit.

  • Firstly, don’t see Halloween as a big profit-generating occasion, instead look at it as an opportunity to generate some goodwill. It’s not about £7 fish and chips, but small portions and low prices. Think £1.50 cone of chips and a sausage, soup and a roll or hot chocolate and a cookie; food parents and kids can easily pick up and eat while out trick or treating or on the way home. Put a sign out on the street – maybe with a carved pumpkin or two – advertising your Halloween special offer and see it as an opportunity to give your customers a little treat rather than to build sales. 
  • It goes without saying, decorate your shop – black and orange balloons along with bats and pumpkins cut out of orange and black card stuck in the window is as simple as it can get, but will make you stand out. 
  • Encourage your team to dress up for the occasion. You could even turn it into an internal competition and reward the best-dressed staff member. Why not get all your staff in early one morning, supply them with a pumpkin and a carving set and let them get creative. It will make a great team-building exercise and you can use all the jack-o-lanterns outside your shop. Again, you could make a competition of it by picking your best one or asking customers to vote for their favourite.
  • Reward customers that come in in fancy dress with a free item of food or drink, or put on a special deal for anyone in a costume. This works really well, especially for the children.
  • Why not make your shop the meeting place for groups heading off trick or treating? You can even give each child a sweet to kickstart the evening and adults a discount on a hot drink or cup of soup to keep them warm on their way around.
  • If it’s safe to do so, switch off the lights. We’re not saying fry in the dark but if you’ve got street lighting that floods your shop, you could add some lanterns to create a spooky mood. If that’s not possible, you may be able to simply dim your lighting. 
  • Encourage customers to come in and trick or treat at your chippy, even if they aren’t buying anything. Have a big bowl of sweets ready for kids to come in and take their pick. It’s a chance for you to interact with regulars as well as potential new customers.
  • Play your own Halloween game by filling an old pickle jar with jelly snakes and liquid and get customers to guess how many are in there.
  • Theme your social media around Halloween too and promote any offers as well as reinforce your opening times. Remind people that if they are out trick or treating you’ll be open, serving heart-warming food to keep them fuelled up.
  • By creating a buzz around Halloween you’ll hopefully attract some first-time customers, so why not convert them into regulars by giving them a reason to return? How about free chips when they order fish on their next visit, 10% off their next order or kids eat free?
  • If you don’t fancy doing anything in-store because you’re too busy, at least reference Halloween on social media and remind people you are open. You could post up some fun Halloween facts and spooky jokes or run a photo competition with free fish and chips for the best-carved pumpkin or Halloween costume.

Whether you go big or stay small, try and do something – we guarantee it will lift the spirits!

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